Rain lingers over parts of California from big, slow-moving storm.
As of Thursday night, the Sierra was under a drought declaration due to a lack of rainfall, which leaves farmers like Chris Schuman worried. He says that’s why he’s planting watermelons in his fields, to grow more to tide him over.
It’s also why he’s planting more than corn and squash. The watermelons are in his fields for two reasons: the heat and lack of rain.
“I’ve always had it in mind,” he says. “I was thinking of growing peaches, but I know there’s not enough water. This year, I’m planting watermelons, since that’s what I’m already eating.”
When he’s not planting corn or squash, Schuman’s been planting his own watermelons that are growing out of control. Since September and all along October, he’s been harvesting the melons before they’ve even started to grow.
“I could say I’m the only farmer around who’s harvesting watermelons this far into the season and harvesting them before they’ve even got the seeds grown yet, but I know that wouldn’t be the case,” Schuman says. “I think the main reason is that it’s the sun and the heat that’s doing this.”
It’s the watermelon’s own internal clock. The plants have been growing steadily since July, but they don’t seem to know what a day was like before, or what a year will look like after they begin to show more growth.
“It’s a lot of unknowns,” Schuman says. “I’d have to go with the plant itself in the end.”
He’s seen the same thing in plants he’s planted in his own yard, in watermelon, avocado, pear, cherry